When Attempting to Save Lives Costs, Personally

Others, usually outside of the profession, often wonder what value lawyers provide to society. We don’t save lives, the way other professions do, and our social utility isn’t always as tangible. I often argue that we do indeed save lives, at least the social aspects of it that many members of the public face. We also drive the economic engines in a capitalistic society, and allow for growth that ultimately benefits everyone when properly oriented and efficient. Occasionally lawyers do save lives, quite literally. And sometimes doing so is deemed by the courts as inappropriate for them to do. The Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Ferreira v. St. Mary’s General Hospital upheld an unusual cost award against a lawyer personally in their attempt to keep their client on life support. The case involves a personal injury action, where the plaintiff subsequently suffered a cardiac arrest and was left incapacitated. He suffered significant…

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